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Full text of "To The Lighthouse"

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to have triumphed. The saucepan had rusted
and the mat decayed. Toads had nosed their
way in. Idly, aimlessly, the swaying shawl
swung to and fro. A thistle thrust itself between
the tiles in the larder. The swallows nested in
the drawing-room; the floor was strewn with
straw; the plaster fell in shovelfuls; rafters were
laid bare; rats carried off this and that to gnaw
behind the wainscots. Tortoise-shell butterflies
burst from the chrysalis and pattered their life
out on the window-pane. Poppies sowed them-
selves among the dahlias; the lawn waved with
long grass; giant artichokes towered among
roses; a fringed carnation flowered among the
cabbages; while the gentle tapping of a weed at
the window had become, on winters' nights, a
drumming from sturdy trees and thorned briars
which made the whole room green in summer.

What power could now prevent the fertility,
the insensibility of nature? Mrs. McNab's dream
of a lady, of a child, of a plate of milk soup?
It had wavered over the walls like a spot of sun-
light and vanished. She had locked the door; she
had gone. It was beyond the strength of one
woman, she said. They never sent. They never
wrote. There were things up there rotting in the
drawers—it was a shame to leave them so, she
said. The place was gone to rack and ruin. Only